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Title: Muddy Boots Beget Wisdom: Implications for Rare or Endangered Plant Species Distribution Models

Author
item Oleas, Nora - Florida International University
item Feeley, Kenneth - Florida International University
item Fajardo, Javier - Florida International University
item Meerow, Alan
item Gebelein, Jennifer - Florida International University
item Francisco-ortega, Javier - Florida International University

Submitted to: Diversity and Distributions
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2019
Publication Date: 1/15/2019
Citation: Oleas, N.H., Feeley, K., Fajardo, J., Meerow, A.W., Gebelein, J., Francisco-Ortega, J. 2019. Muddy Boots Beget Wisdom: Implications for Rare or Endangered Plant Species Distribution Models. Diversity and Distributions. 11:10. https://doi.org/10.3390/d11010010.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/d11010010

Interpretive Summary: We compared potential species distribution (SDMs) for seven species of Phaedranassa (Amaryllidaceae) modelled from three types of data: with three progressively edited species occurrence sources: (1) online occurrence records; (2) taxonomy-based records revised by experts and (3) field-based GPS records. In general there was not agreement among SDMs generated out of different occurrence records sources. SDMs with species occurrence data from records obtained from online occurrence records performed worse than the taxonomically revised and the field-based ones. In order to generate accurate models, species occurrence records to be used for SDMs need to be carefully evaluated with: (1) appropriate filters (e.g. altitude range, ecosystem), (2) taxonomy monographs and/or specialist corroboration and (3) confirmation at the field, if possible. This study is a cautionary tale against extrapolating the results of SDMs produced with unverified online records to species' extinction risks associated to climate change.

Technical Abstract: We investigated the impact of species occurrence data quality on estimates of 20 species ranges. We highlight this impact in poor collected plant species as is the case of tropical endangered plants in the Northern Andes, Ecuador. We model potential species distribution (SDMs) for seven species of Phaedranassa (Amaryllidaceae) with three progressively edited species occurrence sources: (1) database, which are occurrence records available online; (2) taxonomy-based, records which taxonomy was revised by experts and (3) field-based records taken with GPS in situ. In general there was not agreement among SDMs generated out of different occurrence records sources. SDMs with species occurrence data from records obtained from online databases performed worse than the taxonomically revised and the field-based ones. In order to generate accurate models, species occurrence records to be used for SDMs need to be carefully evaluated with: (1) appropriate filters (e.g. altitude range, ecosystem), (2) taxonomy monographs and/or specialist corroboration and (3) confirmation at the field, if possible. This study is a cautionary tale against extrapolating the results of SDMs produced with unverified online records to species' extinction risks associated to climate change.